Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Buddha Board

And now for something completely different:

This is not fiber related, but every now and then I just have to share something that is so creative and just plain fun. I went to our local museum last Friday and while browsing in their gift shop, came across the Buddha Board. This plain white board, framed in black has a small tray for water, and a chinese brush. Straight out of the box it looks like this:

When you dip your brush in the water, and paint, it looks like this:

I love the fact that whatever you paint, looks very oriental, like an ink brush painting.

But what then happens is that as the water dries, the painting fades. How Zen is that?

Finally the board is completely dry, your 'life's pictures that pass in a moment, as your life' are also gone, and a new one, for just this minute, can be painted again.

I have the board on a fern stand in my dining room. As I pass by it, I take 30 seconds to stroke more lines on it, just because it is so much fun.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

YST Podcast Episode 7 Skirting a fleece

The first Yarnspinnerstales podcast for the month of Februray is posted here or should show up in your Itunes subscribtion. Listen in as I skirt, sort and talk about this Shetland fleece:

Yes, that fleece is spread out on my car hood...I have found that hood to be the perfect height for this job. There's over 5 pounds of fleece there and most of it usuable.

The second podcast for February, to be released at the end of the month, will be a spin-in with two more sheep breed overviews. Hope you listen in to both.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Words without a picture says nothing at all

I did a very stupid thing yesterday. It took me about three hours to realize I did this stupid thing. I was having one of those kind of days.

Last Tues I finished the comfort wrap I have been knitting for a dear friend receiving chemo treatments. I rolled the wrap up into my knitting bag, and proceeded to have the type of the rest of the week, I generally have lately. Busy, distracted, frequent phone calls, less than normal sleep, very busy at work type week.

So every now and then while laying in bed before sleep would catch me, I'd think, oh I have to take a picture of the wrap, and lay and try and figure out the best way to display it for the picture.

Then Sat rolled around, a day off and I slept in. I had many errands planned for the day, and the highest priority was to get to the post office with a box to my friend, and a box for my mother so they'd get it by Valentine's day. In my pre 6 cups of coffee haze, I got the boxes packed and ready, and set off for the post office.

It was three hours later that I realized I had not taken a photo of the wrap.

I was really upset, I mean really upset, for a number of reasons. First, this seems to be the norm for me anymore, in my mid fifties, I seem to be unable to hang on to details anymore. This was just one such detail, take the picture before sending it away for good. Those type of lost details are happening to me all the time lately and it really upsets my sense of efficient living (and ego).

Second reason I was really upset, is that I know, just know, this blog post would have been so much more appealing with a picture! We all browse our favorite blogs for the photos. I can tell you that the wrap was done in a combination of handspun yarns, and a coned cotton yarn held as the base. I can tell you that I did a very quick knit on size 13 needles. I can tell you that I did a stripe pattern with the different yarns. I can tell you that I divided areas of the pattern with a garter stitch knit. I can tell you that I crocheted a scallop trim around the wrap.

Can you see the wrap yet? I thought not.

Words without a picture does not make a blog anymore.

I know the main reason I am sorry about all this is that I had really made it a plan to pay more attention to my blog entries, and my live journal posts this year. I think the blogs that are truly interesting are the ones that are actively part of the creator's life. Think about the blogs you love to check day after day, they have long entries speaking of the person, and their creative journey, and have pictures. Now granted, the blogging effort has been made easier in many geeky ways, but it still _takes time_ often a large amount of time in a busy life, to keep that blog interesting. I had hoped to work towards that goal this year, but first, I have to find a way to remember to take the photo before gifting the project.

Ah well, I have options. I will ask my friend to take a photo and email me the result. In my opinion it's alot to ask a non geeky friend going through chemo, but I may get a photo. If I do, I will post it here, as my penitence.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

January Spin In Podcast

This month's spin-in podcast is posted, it should show up in your ITunes if you are subscribed, or you can go to the webpage Yarnspinnerstales.

I have added a new segment to the spin-in podcasts, about different sheep breeds. Once a month I will take two of the samples I have kept on spinning different sheep fleeces. This started out as a collection of samples from rare breed sheep, but I since expanded it to include all of the types of breeds I could get a sample or entire fleece to process.

This month I talk about two of the leicester breeds, the Border Leicester and the Blue Faced Leicester. It may help you as you listen to see these pictures, taken from the collection.

First we have fiber from the Border Leicester:

In the center is the washed lock, on the left is a combed lock and on the right is a carded lock.

The sample skeins spun from the fiber are shown next:

The combed skein on the left is a smoother and finer yarn, while the skein on the right shows the fluffier type of yarn.

Next we have the fiber from the Blue Faced Leicester:

The washed lock on the left shows how much shorter the locks from the fleece are, compared to the Border Leicester. Also note how tight the crimp is in the lock. The locks were hard to process, both by carding and combing, and you can see by the two samples, you can hardly tell a difference between the carded and combed fiber. I concluded with this sampling that I would have this fleece commercially processed.
However I did spin sample skeins of the home processed fiber, shown next:

The skein from the combed top was wonderful to spin, and made a very lovely yarn. The carded batt had so many neps in it, I was too frustrated to spin any quantity, and kept the skein just for the completeness of the sampling.
The Blue Faced Leicester fiber is very soft and would be considered next to the skin wearable yarn, but I would recommend the Border Leicester for outerwear.